Moroccan Chicken with a Twist

Posted on: Friday, September 9, 2011

We find inspiration from friends, family, and most notably our travels. For the past two weeks, Marni was in Budapest, Hungary and took full advantage of the goulash stews, flakey strudels and delicious wines from the Villany and Etyek regions. A key spice in many Hungarian dishes is paprika used for its smoky, spicy flavor and rich red color. 

Returning to the US with an array of paprika tins, it was no question that we would use the paprika with our own creative spin. The looming rain from Hurricane Irene set the mood for a warming aromatic stew. After opening a bottle of red from Villany's Polgar Winery, we selected an assortment of spices to create our own variation of Moroccan Chicken with the addition of Hungarian paprika!

Moroccan Chicken with a Twist

2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs (about 4 pieces, drumsticks are a great alternative)
1/2 c flour
1 large sliced onion
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cumin 
1/2 t paprika (the twist!)
1/2 t cinnamon
3 minced garlic cloves
2 c low sodium chicken broth
1 c halved green olives
1/2 c halved dried apricots
1/2 c golden raisins
3 lemon peels (peeled with a potato peeler)
1 quartered lemon 

salt and pepper throughout

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour. Add half of the chicken to the pan to brown all sides (2 minutes or so per side), and then add the second half. You want to brown the chicken in batches, otherwise it won’t get a nice sear. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion to the pan and saute for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and spices, saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Throw in the lemon peel and return chicken to pan, bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the olives, apricots, raisins, and quartered lemons. Give a big stir and cook for a half hour longer. Feel free to stew the chicken on low for longer to allow all the flavors to meld. The dish is best served over rice, cous cous, or with a hearty loaf of artisan bread to dip. We opted to take a stroll down to our local spice and grains store for some Israeli couscous (toasted pearl-shaped pasta) which we cooked with a sautéed onion, parsley, salt and pepper-a delicious base for the piping stew! This serves 4 people.

We heated the leftover chicken the next day and it was fantastic, if not better after the flavors marinated over night!


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